Fool’s Notion – Book Review

Books and I have a long history together. I can’t remember a time when I did not enjoy a good book.  From the classics to my two years old’s board books, there is always a book close at hand. I will confess a literary secret. Shhh…just between me and you. Sometimes at the end of a long day, I need some help unwinding and clearing my mind. Picking up a light, easy read is often the perfect way to do this.

Christian Fiction is generally my genre to pull from because I don’t have to worry about inappropriate content or language. My mind will not keep churning around an unsettled plot twist but will drift off with happy endings. Do not be mislead. Even in my easy reading, I am extremely selective. The characters and story line must be engaging, authentic, and believable.

Recently I had the opportunity to read and review Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger.  Fool’s Notion takes us to 1883 on the California Trail, Kansas. Here we are going to meet up with Alda and the finest Missouri Mules. Intrigued?

Fool's Notion Jamie (2)

About the Book:

1883 California Trail, Kansas

Missouri mules were the best. Alda grew to love the creatures working side by side with her pa on their farm along the banks of the Missouri River. He would be hopping mad when he realized his wife and daughter colluded behind his back to sell a pack string. It wouldn’t matter that they were trying to save the farm.

Alda struck out on her own to drive the team over fifteen hundred miles. By day three, her lead mule Bessie refused to take one more step. It was a good thing the handsome cowboy Cord stopped by to lend a hand or Alda might still be sitting in the dust.

Now, Alda needed the man to move on so she could continue her journey. Judging by the spark in Cord’s eye … it just might take some convincing.

Based on the book synopsis, I had hopes that Fool’s Notion was going to be the perfect bedtime read for me. A bit of history, a touch of adventure, and with mules I felt sure there would be a bit of comic relief tossed in as well.

Unfortunately after just a few chapters, I was struggling with Alda, Cord, and their story. I found myself not liking the main characters of this story and had difficulty believing that it was all possible. A young woman traveling on her own with a pack of mules across country in the late 1800s? Cord comes to her rescue and helps her join a wagon train for a safe journey across country. No one seems to question the respectability of this arrangement?

Despite my issues with Fool’s Notion, I continued reading and completed the book. There was a hope that Alda and Cord’s story would capture my interest. However, the story fell flat for me. The writing was stilted and shallow in development. The ending of the book was disappointing. Giving the perception of Alda’s character at the beginning, for her to allow herself to be tossed around at the end is maddening.

Another confession: I am definitely a “mood reader”. There are days where I want lighthearted and frivolous and other days I want deeply moving tales of epic proportions. I have found that a book I didn’t enjoy six months ago, I can now read with pleasure.  With those thoughts in mind, it could be that I read Fool’s Notion on a bad day. So I will likely grab one of her other titles and give it a go!

About the Author:

Author Pic (1)

Lisa J. Flickinger, author of historical novels Fool’s Notion, Ella, and All That Glitters, lives and writes from the cliff of a river along the majestic Rocky Mountains. When not writing or reading, you will find her scouring antique shops or sipping a maple latte with friends and family. To learn more about her visit www.lisajflickinger.com or her Facebook author page Lisa J. Flickinger.

**I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit for the purpose of review. No compensation has been made. The opinions and thoughts shared are my own. Affiliate links may be used in this post. They in no way change your shopping/research experience. 

2018-2019 Curriculum Choices – 1st and 3rd Grades

Our 2018-2019 School Year began back in July.  Perhaps not the most well timed start as we had a couple of major interruptions. But such is life, right?

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make a few adjustments to the schedule and book selections. I think that I finally have things set to a good and reasonable flow for my younger students.

We do some studies all together and those things are not included in this post but will soon follow. The selections listed below are used with my Form 1 students.

Math:

Math Mammoth is used by both students at their appropriate level. I switched a few years ago to using Math Mammoth with my younger students and they are doing well. Not only do I appreciate the presentation of the math but the price is affordable as well. I also use Ray’s Primary Arithmetic. My 1B daughter really enjoys it and I think it works very well for mental math work. We use it once or twice a week.

Reading/Phonics Instruction:

My third grade/Form 1A student is working through the Treadwell Readers and has about two pages left in the First Reader. He will immediately move into the Second Reader. He is really enjoying these books and moving at a fabulous pace. Since I prefer a hard copy, I purchase copies from Amazon at a reasonable price. But you can access these readers for free online!

My first grade/Form 1B student is about a third of the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I love this resource and have used it for several children. Simple, straight-forward, short lessons are a win for me. All of my children who have used this book are excellent readers!

Handwriting/Copywork:

Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner is an italics handwriting program that I am using with multiple children. This resource covers print and cursive writing. It includes pages to practice letters, words, and then sentences. Additional blank pages for practice can be printed as well. The PDF download is only $10! My 1st and 3rd grader are working through the print pages at their own pace.

Within this post, the books highlighted link to Amazon. I choose to link to Amazon because they offer a great “look inside” feature that often allows you to read a few pages of a text. I have always found that helpful. However, I often use ThriftBooks.com because I find better pricing. It has helped my budget tremendously!

History:

All of my children are studying 1650-1800. For my Form 1 students there is more of a focus on just the years of 1700-1800 with a slight bit of the “heroic age” tossed in for my 1st grader. A First Book of American History and Meet the North American Indians are our current history books. I am also including a historical fiction read aloud. We are currently reading Johnny Tremain. A couple of times a week, I read a chapter or two during lunch. In a separate post I will share the history free reads that are available to the children; these include picture books as well.

Geography:

I have a few resources on hand for geography. We will be working through Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling as well as Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography. To add a bit of fun in the mix, I am including Blue Ridge Billy by Lois Lenski. Her regional stories of America show the beauty of the different ares and people! Naturally we will work with a few basic maps and use our wall maps often to locate places we read about.

Science:

Sam and Martha will be enjoying Pagoo by Holling C. Holling. This one is always a favorite! We are also reading A Drop of Water and doing some of the experiments shared in the back of the book.  This term our Special Study will be on trees and dragonflies. I may be adding in reading Tree and Shrubs by Arabella Buckley. I do not have a copy of this yet so we shall see if we work it in. Science is a favorite with Sam and he asks for it daily!

Literature:

Form 1B typically includes Fairy Tales and Form 1A often incorporates Mythology if I am remembering correctly. I am alternating reading fairy tales and Greek myths. I am utilizing a copy I own of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While I have D’ aulaires Book of Greek Myths on my wish list, I am trying to use what I have. I own Greek Myths by Oliva Coolidge and Usborne Greek Myths. Which one will I use? I’m not quite sure!

I am also reading Swallows and Amazon by Arthur Ransome. This was just a spur of the moment decision. I am fairly confident that my third grade kiddo is going to love it! I may also have him listen to the audio of Pilgrim’s Progress in the evening as he falls asleep.

I think that covers the Form 1 work for the coming term/year. This is such a delightful age. I love their insights and narrations on the things we read and observe. We do not read these books daily and some are not read even weekly. My goal is to spread a feast for my children. We are savoring it slowly.  My hope is that this might be helpful to someone. As time allows, I will try to share a weekly schedule for my Form 1 Students.

 

**Please note that there are affiliate links included in this post. These links in no way effect your shopping or browsing experience. If you decide to make a purchase, I earn a very small percentage.

 

 

 

 

Children Are Born Persons – Charlotte Mason

My reading pace of A Philosophy of Education (Charlotte Mason) is moving a bit slower than I had originally planned. I find that I often go back and re-read portions of the text over again. I think that it is quite possible that you could offer up selections of Miss Mason’s writings and people would think it addressing the current educational status.

And so I am just now finishing up my thoughts on Chapter 2, Children Are Born Persons. Why has it taken me so long? I wondered if perhaps I was missing something during my reading. The concept is so simple…perhaps in Miss Mason’s time it was not so. And perhaps we are still struggling with it as well.

A child is a born person. A child has his own personality and characteristics. A child has his own interests or abilities. A child has a mind that can do amazing things! Perhaps we feel education would be easier if a child were an empty pitcher that we filled with the beverage of the day. But they are not puppets on a string! Children have amazing abilities to think, learn, create, imagine, and comprehend. We just need to present them with the ideas, the inspiration, the words.

Children are born persons. We do them an injustice when we treat them as anything less. They are able to think, to understand, to accomplish. Are we giving our children the opportunity to thrive? Are we offering a feast of ideas? So often my children leave me speechless at what they have gathered from their books. Those minds are constantly at work. Don’t underestimate the children!

“We may not take things casually as we have done. Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science; but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with those as he choose.” p 40